San Jose great-grandfather Walter Wilson noticed a car had turned right onto the train tracks across Sunnyvale Avenue and had stopped, Thursday evening around 6pm.
“I stopped and saw a Prius about 50 feet down the track,” Walter Wilson said.
63-year-old Wilson stopped his car, ran down the tracks, and told the elderly woman in the driver's sear to back up. She tried but got stuck.
“I looked up and saw lights from a train coming directly at us,” Wilson said.
So Wilson says he reached into her car, took of the woman's seatbelt, and lifted her out of the car, to safety.
“Between the time I grabbed her and the time we got to safety, I couldn’t tell you how I got there,” Wilson said. “I just looked up, and we were there, probably because of the adrenaline, and we were there maybe 5-6 seconds before the train hit her car.”
Though Wilson says the train did slow down, this is what the woman’s car looked like after it was hit by the train.
“It sounded like an explosion; the train hit it and kind of crumpled it,” Wilson said.
Thanks to Wilson’s fast action, the driver of the car was not hurt, nor was anyone on the train.
Wilson says he was later approached by the train’s engineer.
“He came over and said he was so appreciative I got the woman out of the car because you made my day,” Wilson said.
Wilson says the woman spoke little English, but he sensed she was grateful.
Now, some are calling this great-grandfather a hero, but Wilson says that should be reserved for those who put their lives on the line every day.
“My act may be perceived as heroic, but at the end of the day, I did what a humane person would do and that is to save someone else’s family,” Wilson said. “If it were my mother or my sister or a loved one, I would hope another American or human would reach out to help that person as well.”
(via KRON4, "VIDEO: San Jose man pulls elderly woman out of car seconds before Caltrain hits it in Sunnyvale")
Hero! Caltrain called Wilson's actions heroic and the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety plans to honor him too.